Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters - PS2 Review
|27/5/2008||Sony||High Impact Games||1-2||PG||Easy|
Ratchet and Clank is one of my favourite game franchises. I'll be even more honest and say that whilst I bought my PS2 solely to play Kingdom Hearts, Ratchet and Clank was the reason why I bought more than just that title (as the third game in the series came with my PS2). So I have somewhat of a soft spot for the lombax and his metallic friend. You can understand my disappointment then when I was unable to enjoy the PSP title Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters due to issues such as camera control, inability to strafe and look, and so on. Luckily, I got the chance to review this PS2 port of the game which utilises the extra stick available on the controller. Does this port make up for what was missing in the PSP release? Only one way to find out... well... two... but reading the rest of this review is cheaper than buying the game!
|Graphics are a bit sub-par.|
Size Matters starts off with our two heroes taking some much deserved R&R on a beach planet, just enjoying a break. Unfortunately, Luna, one of the pair's biggest fans, gets kidnapped in the opening cut-scene shortly after meeting with the two, and Ratchet and Clank are thrust into a rescue mission against the Technomites. As with all previous adventures, this leads you all over the galaxy to a wide variety of locations and encompasses many different styles of play.
Controls in this PS2 outing are more or less identical to the other PS2 titles, and the game relies heavily on third-person shooting action mixed in with 3D platforming. And of course, there's a whole host of crazy weaponry to pick from. Once again, we get to level up and upgrade the weapons much more than the standard third-person shooter usually accommodates.
|This is the weakest game in this franchise.|
Even if Insomniac weren't responsible for this title, it certainly looks and more or less plays like any Ratchet game. You even are able to play with the lock-strafe mode of previous PS2 titles, meaning you can strafe and manipulate the camera at the same time (unlike in the PSP title). Unfortunately, this is where we run into the biggest issue Size Matters suffers from.
The camera in Size Matters is absolutely awful. While you can manipulate it much easier than in the PSP version, the views you get in 9 out of 10 situations are absolutely useless and we found ourselves dying a lot simply because we were unable to see where the enemies whilst we tried to pull the camera away from a wall or tree or something similar. While this is probably the only real issue the game suffers as far as playing it goes, this alone makes Size Matters incredibly frustrating and unpleasant to play. I would go as far as to say this is probably the worst camera I have used in any third-person title on a console (and there have been a lot of horrid ones).
|Yet another unimpressive screenshot.|
After playing the PS3 title, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, it was kind of hard to go back to playing the franchise on the PS2, something that was not helped by the fact that there have been more or less no improvements made on the graphical aspects of the title from the PSP port. The PS2 is capable of some pretty slick imagery, and given that this game was designed with small level environments (no doubt to make it easier to run on the PSP system); this would have been a great candidate for another pretty game. Instead, levels are often bland and seemingly un-detailed (it looked great on a small PSP screen, but on a 40inch LCD...), and textures often seem low-res and stretched out over surfaces. It's a shame that Ratchets last outing on the last-gen hardware will be remembered in this way.
Unfortunately, it only gets worse when moving onto the audio. The Ratchet and Clank games have always had great character, and a lot of this came from the soundtrack. I can remember countless musical pieces from the earlier titles and voice acting has always been a very strong element in the games. While all the sound present in Size Matters is decent quality, it just doesn't have the same aura about it that previous titles did. The music tracks are nice enough, but are forgettable. Voice acting is by no means bad but not a standout aspect and the in-game effects are a fairly standard affair. Again, the game disappoints massively in the area.
|Taking to the skies, or should that be space.|
It really hurts to talk ill of one of my all time favourite game franchises, but I cannot honestly recommend this port of the game to anyone. If you were able to enjoy the PSP title, then you have no reason to play this version anyways, if you were not, chances are you will not fair any better with the PS2 release. Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters on PS2 is the first less than spectacular instalment in one of the modern Playstation-defining series. Reserved only for the truly die-hard fans.
Review By: Michael Hutchesson
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
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|GRAPHICS||It would have looked good as a PS2 launch title. Very disappointing.||51%|
|SOUND||It's not bad, but it's lacking in character and almost all forgettable.||61%|
|GAMEPLAY||The worst camera ever. Get over the camera and you'll love it... however, you won't get over it.||62%|
|VALUE||The game is short, but plenty of replayability as always with Ratchet games.||72%|
|OVERALL||A blight on the franchise, but it DOES have its good aspects. Nonetheless, play the PSP release instead||62%|